Refugees teach us about the power of generosity
A few days ago I told a young Sudanese man in Calais that I liked his jacket. He had just got it from our distribution that afternoon and it was his only coat for the nights that had now started to get pretty cold. His first reaction? Not to say thank you, but to ask me what size I was so that he could give me the jacket.
The next day I told an Eritrean man that his button-up flannel was really nice. He looked so smart and stylish wearing it. Again, his first reaction was to start unbuttoning it. “You should have it,” he told me. “You will look good with it.”
A few days later, I told a little Iranian girl in Dunkirk that I loved her drawing. She was sat at our arts and crafts station and had been working tirelessly on a picture of a flower. She looked at me, smiled and handed me the drawing. “It’s for you,” she said. That gift I accepted.
These are people who have next to nothing. The few belongings they do have are taken away from them on a near daily basis by police. They rely on donations to have a jacket to keep warm at night or shoes to walk around all day in. And yet they are willing to share everything. More than willing – it makes them happy to do so. I think there’s a lot we can learn from that attitude to life.
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